Old parties put tourism jewels at risk
The Australian Greens have pledged a $100 million boost for tourism marketing as the old parties threaten to destroy our tourism jewels and the half a million jobs that rely on them.
"Our natural attractions are Australia's biggest tourism drawcards," Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.
"They define us in the international mind. Every year thousands of people visit places like the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and Uluru and come to see unique animals like the koala, leadbeater's possum and Tasmanian devil.
"Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott should be protecting these natural tourism icons at all costs.
"Instead, we have the old parties expanding coal mining, handballing national protection of our plants and animals to the states and not taking the action needed to tackle climate change.
"The Great Barrier Reef is heading towards the World Heritage in danger list because of coal mining, dredging of coal ports and climate change. While areas with world heritage values such as Tasmania's Tarkine are also being handed over for mining and development.
"Tourism is one of our biggest employers, so it is vital that we don't destroy these major tourism attractions in favour of short-term mining profits.
"Only the Greens can be trusted to protect these precious places to support the growth and development of Australia's tourism industry."
Greens tourism spokesperson Peter Whish-Wilson said marketing was essential for Tourism Australia to attract visitors and grow jobs in the industry.
"The Greens would increase Tourism Australia's marketing funding by $100 million over the forward estimates, a 20% increase, to attract more visitors from growth areas such as China and Indonesia," Senator Whish-Wilson said.
"Our environmental icons are a drawcard for tourists and contribute substantially to the economy. Tasmania's World Heritage Areas, for example, pump about $722 million into the local economy every year and create some 5400 jobs.
"A report by leading Australian economic forecasters Deloitte Access Economics concluded that for every additional $1 million invested in tourism marketing, between $6 and $19 million of economic activity is generated in the Tasmanian economy.
"We have set aside $3 million to kickstart planning and preparation for a World Heritage Interpretation Centre in Tasmania so tourists can get a taste of the natural and cultural histories of these areas.
"Our World Heritage sites are an invaluable asset for Tasmania and we should have a one-stop-shop for tourists ready to visit the sites and to provide marketing to tempt short-stay tourists back for a longer trip.
"Sometimes our regions need help with the more sophisticated marketing tools out there which is why we believe $3 million should be available to regions to develop smartphone and tablet applications to add to visitor experiences," Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.